By Bill Landauer

Is the center of all religious thought something with arms, legs, and a face? What about trees? Or rocks?

On Thursday, the Department of Religious Studies welcomes Prof. David Haberman, a religious studies professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, as its Phi Beta Kappa visiting lecturer, supported by the Lyman Coleman Guest Speaker Fund.

Haberman will speak 7:30-9 p.m. in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights auditorium (room 104).

The lecture, “Drawing Personality Out of a Stone: Environmental Possibilities in the Worship of Natural Entities in India,” will tap his many years of ethnographic and textual research in India.

“The lecture should be a tour de force of interdisciplinary inquiry into religion, ecology, and their interrelationship,” says Eric Ziolkowski, Helen P. Manson Professor of Bible and head of religious studies.

Students “will learn about the religion (particularly South Asian religion) and ecology, including the contemporary philosophical outlook known as deep ecology, which recognizes the inherent value of all living creatures,” Ziolkowski adds. They will also “get exposed to some of the questions raised in environmental ethics; learn about Hindu religious practices; and, more generally, get a sense of the importance of religious studies, and the attractions and challenges of conducting  ethnographical research in another culture—one very different from our own.”

Much of Haberman’s work, supported by Guggenheim, Fulbright, and ACLS Fellowships, is centered on the culture of Braj, an active pilgrimage site in northern India long associated with Krishna.

His publications include Acting as a Way of Salvation: A Study of Raganuga Bhakti Sadhana; Journey Through the Twelve Forests: An Encounter with Krishna (recipient, American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence); River of Love in an Age of Pollution: The Yamuna River of Northern India; and People Trees: Worship of Trees in Northern India.

1 Comment

  1. John Rehm '73 says:

    “Earth stewardship” is part of responsible living and is spiritual in nature, because it demands that civil society must overrule those in political power who would allow despoilment of the environment.

    Mountaineer, geologist and naturalist John Muir fought politicians in California over overgrazing by sheep in the foothills of the Sierra. Later, at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, he would battle to prevent a dam in the Hetch Hetchy River Valley.

    Muir lost, but great civic organizations and great works sprang from his efforts: The Sierra Club, The Appalachian Mountain Club and the Appalachian Trail, The Pacific Crest Trail, the book Silent Spring and Earth Day and, lately, the Continental Divide Trail.

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